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Stillington and District Community Archive

In the Heart of North Yorkshire

This page is dedicated to the men with links to Stillington and Marton cum Moxby, either by birth, family, residence, or employment, who served in The Great War.


"Soldier from the Wars Returning" 

 by A. E. Housman

Soldier from the wars returning,
Spoiler of the taken town,
Here is ease that asks not earning;
Turn you in and sit you down.

Peace is come and wars are over,
Welcome you and welcome all,
While the charger crops the clover
And his bridle hangs in stall.

Now no more of winters biting,
Filth in trench from fall to spring,
Summers full of sweat and fighting
For the Kesar or the King.

Rest you, charger, rust you, bridle;
Kings and kesars, keep your pay;
Soldier, sit you down and idle
At the inn of night for aye.


Kenneth Bruce Allan


Royal Army Medical Corps

attached to

King's African Rifles

(1885 Stillington - 1955 Warwickshire)

Entered service in East Africa 17/9/1917.

His father, Thomas, was a doctor and his uncle was Dr Sidney Farbrace Gramshaw, Stillington's doctor.  Kenneth followed in their footsteps, qualifying in 1909 from Durham University.

In 1911 Kenneth was a doctor's apprentice with the West African Colonial Office.

His 1913 entry on the Medical Register states that he worked for the West African Medical Service.

Kenneth arrived back in England after The Great War on 20/11/1920. He made trips back to Africa during the next decade.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.



Harry Bearpark

Stoker (1st Class) K25350

 Royal Navy

(1892 - 1948)

Originally from York Harry worked for the Mattison family at Marton Abbey Farm.
He joined the Northumberland Fusiliers at York on 17/11/1914, but was discharged in January 1915 as he thought to be unfit to be a soldier, so he went to be a sailor instead!

He joined the Royal Navy in March 1915.
Harry served on four ships: the longest period of service being nearly three years aboard  HMS 'Blenheim', a first class Cruiser which patrolled the Mediterranean.
Harry was discharged in October 1919, at which time he qualified for a small pension.

Frank Bielby

Private 185686,

357th Works Company

Formerly Private 56201 23rd Works Company, Private 56248 Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) and Private 28834 West Yorkshire Regiment

(Born 1894 Malton - 1932)

Living Stillington with his parents, Jonathan and Margaret, when he was called up to report for duty at York on 1st May 1916. He was a conscript. In April 1916 his employer, Fred Richardson, supported Frank at a tribunal stating his business could not run without him. The appeal was rejected.

Frank expressed a preference to serve with mechanical transport as he was a threshing machine operator in civvy life.

Was posted to do garrison duty at Ripon. At some point was transferred to the Sherwood Foresters.

However, in 1918 was transferred to 23rd Works Company on health grounds, then the 357th. Was discharged in 1919.

Married Mildred Byworth in 1923 and they had one child, Emily.

Doris, Charlie and Tom Borwell


Charles Edward Borwell

Private 28912

14th (King's)Hussars


The 14th Hussars were stationed in India at the start of the war.

Charlie then served in the Middle East, in what is now Iraq and in 1918 moved to Persia (Iran). 

At the end of the war the 14th Hussars were brought back to Europe and given the unenviable job of being a peace keeping force in Germany (Upper Silesia) in March 1919.

Placed on the reserve list (Class Z) 11/5/1919.

Charlie married Bertha Hutton in 1925; they had three children Audrey, Jack and Maurice.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.


Thomas William Borwell


Yorkshire Regiment


Tom was in training at the end of the war and escaped the horrors of the front.


Doris Borwell

Women's Army Auxiliary Corps

(Born 1898)

The Women's Army Auxillery Corps was a body which freed men for active service by taking on non active roles in the army such as administration and driving duties.

Married George Henry Davies, from Ebbw Vale, in 1919.

Charles Henry Bullen


Yorkshire Brigade Field Ambulance


67th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps


Enlisted in 1917 feeling that he should 'do his bit'. Served in Salonika to the end of the war.

Charles Bullen was the local doctor for over thirty years. He practised from The Admiral's House until his son Eric had a surgery specially built in the 1930s.

Awards: Victory and British Medals

Ernest Burnett

Gunner 55063

Royal Field Artillery

(1884 Coxwold - 1949)

Family ran the blacksmiths' shop in the Main Street.

Ernest enlisted at Thirsk on 16/12/1914.

Edward Henry Hawthorne Candler

Gunner 78650

18th Battalion

Tank Corps

Formerly 3rd Battalion, Machine Gun Corps


  A joiner who worked for Mr Hugill in Stillington.

Enlisted 6/6/1916 in to the MGC at Easingwold whilst living in Stillington. Transferred to the Tank Corps December 1916.

Transferred to a reserve unit May 1918.

In France from October 1918 to  January 1919.

Discharged March 1920.

 Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Albert Edward Clark

Sergeant 26758

Royal Field Artillery

(1891 - 1959)

Enlisted 14/9/1914 at Malton.

Posted to France in October 1914 under the Northern Command. Quickly went through the ranks to become a Sergeant by October 1915.

With C battery of the 83rd Brigade and later with the 59th Battery.

Sent home to England in 1917 with a skin condition. Reposted to Belgium and served until November 1918 when he was categorised as medically unfit. Demobbed in January 1919.

Married Frances Mary Barker at St Nicholas' Church Stillington on 7/4/1926. Albert and his family lived at a cottage on Marton Bridge. He worked as a woodsman. 



Spencer Corbett 

Rifleman R4009

4th Battalion

King's Royal Rifle Brigade


Head Gardener at Stillington Hall. 

Enlisted on 7/12/1915.

The 4th Battalion KRRC were among the forces sent to Salonika (Thessalonika) in Northern Greece to aid the Serbs against a Bulgarian incursion, only to arrive to find the Serbian army already defeated. During 1916 and 1917 the Battalion was involved in several engagements, being finally shipped back to France in June 1918 to aid with the 'final push'.

Rifleman Corbett was discharged due to illness in October 1918 and received a Silver War Badge in 1919.

Awards: British Medal, Silver War Badge and Victory Medal.

George Appleby Crawford


5th Battalion

Yorkshire Regiment

(26/3/1886 Scarborough-1977)

Married to Maud Mary Scaife of Stillington.

George was a shipwright's son from Scarborough, and was stationed there at the time of his marriage to Maud in April 1916 at York.

Also George's younger brother Frank, (1890 - 1969), who joined the Royal Navy in 1916 and served on HMS Daedalus, (see Alfred Harrison Usher),  transferring within a few weeks to the Fleet Air Arm where he worked as a mechanic.

Francis Matson Denton

Lance Corporal 45782

2nd Battalion

Yorkshire Regiment

(Born 9/9/1898 Stillington)

Enlisted in 1917 aged 18.

Frank was a Lewis gunner. He was sent to Italy in November 1917. Returned to France September 1918, wounded in the right foot a month later and spent the remainder of the war in hospital at Rouen.

Sent home in February 1919 and served in Ireland until November that year when he was demobbed. He became Stillington's postman.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Percy Dight

Battery Sergeant 63498

130th (Howitzer)Battery

Royal Field Artillery

(1890 Sutton on the Forest - 1958)

Enlisted 28/12/1910 at Leeds.

 Was awarded The Military Medal in October 1916 (to which a bar was added in June 1918) and The Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1918 (to which a bar was added in December 1918). 

The citation for his DCM reads thus:

'63498  Sgt P Dight, 130th Bty Royal Field Artillery: For great coolness and courage in maintaining communication from the observation post to the battery when NCO in charge of battery signallers on 26th March 1918 when the battery was in action near Boisleux au Mont, the telephone line from the observation post was continually being cut by shell fire; and as it was of vital importance for the officer of the observation post to keep the brigade commander informed of the situation, he patrolled the line and repaired the breaks as soon as they occurred.'

Percy married Mary Musgrave from Moor Monkton. They had five children, naming their eldest son Reginald, after Percy's brother who was killed in The Great War.

Awards: British Medal, 1914 Star, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal with Bar, Victory Medal and *Mentioned in Dispatches (twice).

John Robert Dobson

Gunner 755721

8th Reserve Brigade

Royal Field Artillery


Living Stillington when he enlisted 1914, placed on reserved list. Mustered November 1915 to serve with the North Riding Battery. Transferred to Ripon in 1917.

Sent to France in March 1918 and served until January 1919.

Brother in Law of Fred Scaife.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Nicholas William Dodd

2nd Lieutenant

King's Own Rifle Corps

 (1897 Stanfordham, Northumberland -1952)

Father Peter was coachman at Stillington Hall. On the 1911 Census the family are actually living in 'The Big House'!

Joined 16th Battalion K.R.R.C as Rifleman C1666. Commissioned 30/7/1918.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Herbert Felmingham

Driver T298196

Royal Army Service Corps

Formerly Private 14144

West Yorkshire Regiment

 (1892 Bungay, Suffolk - 1963)

Living Stillington when he enlisted at Easingwold into the West Yorkshire Regiment on 9/9/1914.

Posted to France September 1915.

Was wounded in the hand in 1916 so transferred to the RASC in December that year.

Served until May 1919 when he was discharged with a good character reference.

Awards: 1915 Star, British and Victory Medals.

Jackson Hardisty

Gunner 251208

Royal Field Artillery

(1892 Huby - 1949)

Worked for Mr Walker of Mowbray House Farm, Stillington as a waggoner.

Jackson married Hannah Woodliffe in 1921 and they had two children, Muriel and Ronald.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

(Thomas) Yates Hardy

Private 50849

East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry

Formerly Private 2373

East Riding of Yorkshire Yeomanry

(10/5/1896 -1970)

 Came from Aldborough near Hull.

  He married local girl Norah Metcalfe and farmed at Craven Farm, Marton.

The East Riding Yeomanry were a territorial, mounted unit. They were officially categorised as lancers. Most of the unit remained in England. However, those who were fit enough were sent to France as a 1st Squadron to act as a reconnaissance unit.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Thomas Henry Harrowsmith

Gunner 129238

86th Brigade

Royal Field Artillery

(1894 -1961)

 Enlisted on 9/12/1915 whilst living at Stillington. Matthew Liddell, the owner of Stillington Hall, was the Justice of the Peace who signed Thomas' attestation at his enlistment.

Before his enlistment Thomas was a butcher.

Thomas' records show that he was awarded the Silver War Badge as he was wounded, most probably during The Battle of Aisne in May and June of 1918,  and had been discharged as medically unfit in July 1918 under Wounds 2 (a) (i) Para 392 (xvi) King's Regulation.

His wounds left him disabled.  He is listed as 'Incapacitated' on the 1939 register and was living with his brother Herbert at Sutton on the Forest.

Awards: British Medal, Silver War Badge and Victory Medal.

Arthur Heslop

Private 5/42182

80th Training Reserve Battalion

Yorkshire Regiment

Formerly with 1st Line

Northern Cyclist Battalion

(2/6/1898 Huby - 1976)

He was a tailor, like his father, and lived in Stillington.

Arthur had a bit of a chequered military career. He enlisted 1916 into the Durham Light Infantry, who decided he was more fitted for the ASC as he was in an occupation thought suitable for that unit.

However Arthur wanted a combatant role and applied to join the Lincolnshire Regiment who transferred him to the Northern Cyclist Battalion. They then dispensed with his services in 1916.

He next applied to The Yorkshire Regiment in 1917, who accepted him but placed him in a training battalion stationed at Newcastle.

Demobbed 1919.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Richard Hobson

Private 37856

497th Agricultural Company, Labour Corps

(Born 1891 Terrington)

The older brother of Arthur Hobson, who died in the war. His parents lived at Stillington, and Richard had worked for David Ashby at Craven Farm, Marton.

Enlisted 14/7/1918 at York whilst living at Easingwold with his wife, Florence, and young son, Thomas. He was employed as a farm worker.

Initially recruited into the 4th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment but with the war drawing to an end was transferred to the Labour Corps. Served until March 1919, and received his demobilisation papers in May 1919.

William Howland


Royal Field Artillery

 (28/6/1894 Stillington - 1979)

Father Thomas was a gamekeeeper and the family lived at Blackwoods.

John Best Hutchinson


11th Battalion

Yorkshire Regiment


  Came to Stillington after the war to run the BATA store.

John was born in Slingsby and enlisted there in 1916 aged 21. Shortly afterwards the 11th Battalion was absorbed into the 1st Training Reserve which was stationed at Rugeley, Staffordshire.

Henry James King

Gunner L/12337

'A' Battery

161st (Yorkshire) Brigade

Royal Field Artillery

(Born 7/1/1889 Stillington - 1962 York)

Enlisted 1915 at Ripon. Occ. Railway Labourer.

Was married with a wife, Alice nee Hill, and two children, William and Sarah, on his enlistment.

Was posted to France in December 1915. After some home leave in March 1917 he returned to France being transferred to the 39th Brigade. Discharged in February 1919.

Rejoined the army in 1923 but was discharged in 1924. The army in peace time was much different to one in wartime and it seems Henry couldn't fit in.

Awards: 1915 Star, British and Victory Medals.

Adolph Knowlson

Serjeant 64774

Signal Corps

Royal Engineers

(Born 1890 Middlesbrough)

  Lived Erimus Cottage, High Street, Stillington.

Adolph was born in Middlesbrough where his father, Frederick, had been a police inspector for some years. On Frederick's retirement the family moved to Stillington, buying a house in the High Street which was renamed 'Erimus' (We shall be) after the motto of Middlesbrough Town.

Enlisted into the Royal Engineers on 9/1/1915 at Kendal, initially as a tailor (his occupation). Quickly transferred to the Signal Corps. Promoted to corporal and sent to East Africa in early 1916. In August 1917 was promoted to serjeant. Invalided to South Africa in May 1918 with malaria, after suffering bouts of dysentery and blackwater fever, shipped back to England to convalesce and discharged from the army in March 1919.

Awards: Mentioned in Dispatches (21/1/1918), British and Victory Medals

John William Leckenby

Private 118072

8th Company

Royal Army Medical Corps

(1883 Stillington - 1954)

His maternal grandfather, William Skelton Myers, ran The Boot and Shoe Inn and when she was widowed his mother Elizabeth ran a boarding house on Stillington Green.

She later remarried and with her new husband ran The Black Horse at Wigginton, which is where John was living when he enlisted at York on 25/11/1915. He was working as a gardener.

Served with B.E.F from July 1917 until March 1918. Other service at Home. Discharged October 1919.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Abraham Lorriman

Private 169435

Labour Corps

(1891 - 1947)

Abraham enlisted with the West Yorkshire Regiment in March 1916 at York. However he was transferred to the Labour Corps in May that year. He served at Home until he was transferred again to a Labour Corps due to be posted overseas - this was probably at his request. From late 1917 until February 1919 he was in France, with a spot of leave in Boulogne in November '18.

He was demobbed in July 1919.

In September 1939 Abraham was living in Stillington, working for Thomas Cass at Mowbray Farm.

Awards: British and Victory Medals

Harold Robert Metcalfe

Staff Sergeant 89378

22nd Brigade, 25th Battery

Royal Field Artillery

(26/1/1893 Stillington - 1980)

Joined RFA at Woolwich on 12/4/1915 whilst living at Stanningley near Leeds.

Due to working in a supervisory occupation as a fitter he was immediately promoted to Staff Sergeant.

Saw service in France during 1917. Wounded 3/4/1917. Sent home for treatment. Served at home until demobbed in March 1919.

Applied for and received an army pension due to disability from his wounds.

(James) Sidney Metcalfe 

Driver T4/214448

Royal Army Service Corps

(1894 - 1963)

Came to Stillington in the 1920s and ran the butchers' shop next to The White Bear.

Sid joined up in 1913 aged 19, at his home village of Sherburn near Scarborough, as a Reservist. Called up 6/8/1914, initally as a waggoner. Posted to France 20th August as part of the BEF. Served there until December 1915, when he was sent home having served his two years as a special reservist.

Awards: 1914 Star, British and Victory Medals.

Ernest Edwin Newman

Aircraftsman 233734

Formerly F33734 Royal Navy

(Born 13/2/1876 Burford, Oxfordshire - 1948)

Also known as Edwin Ernest Newman.

Enlisted in July 1917. Did his training on HMS President and was transferred to HMS Daedalus in October 1917. HMS Daedalus was a seaplane facility at Lee on Solent. Edwin served there until December 1918. He was officially discharged in 1920.

He married Mary Maskill in 1923. Mary, and her sister Sarah, set up a nursing home at Wellington House after WWI.

They were all very active in village life and Edwin served as the church organist at St Nicholas' Church for 25 years.

Lawrence Edward North

Private 531235

Royal Tank Corps

Formerly Trooper 7735

18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars

 (Born 1892 Stillington)

Parents James and Eliza, who lived on Stillington Green.

Just prior to his enlistment into the 18th Hussars at York on 29/11/1911 he was working as the Foreman at Cornborough Farm, Sheriff Hutton.

Went out to France with BEF on 15/8/1914 and served throughout the war.

In 1914 he saw action at the First Battles of Mons and Ypres and in 1915 the Second Battle of Ypres.

1916 saw involvement in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette - part of the Somme Campaign. His attachment to The Royal Tank Corps began in November 1917 with a series of offences against the Germans around Cambrai.

With 1918 came 'the big push', where the usefulness of tanks as a defensive weapon was realised - most expecially at Villers-Bretonneux on 24-25 April and during the assaults on the Hindenburg Line in September 1918.

Demobbed 3/4/1919.

After the war served with the British South African Police in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

Awards: 1914 Star, British and Victory Medals.

William Frederick Oldfield

Private 60938

Australian Imperial Force

 (24/9/1900 Stillington -  1971 Burnley, Victoria)

His parents, Thomas, (who had been a teacher at the Wesleyan school in Stillington) and Mary Ann emigrated to Australia in 1910 and were living in Koyuga, Victoria when William enlisted in July 1918.

William lied about his age to get into the army - stating he was a year older than he really was.

William embarked for Europe in November 1918 but the ship was recalled.

William was one of nine brothers.

Ernest  (1889 - 1949) was the fourth brother. He enlisted at Geelong in Victoria in February 1916. He served in France with the 58th Battalion AIF and was awarded a Victory Medal. He returned to Australia in March 1919.

Fifth Brother Thomas Henry enlisted in March 1915. He was a grocer at the time. He served with the 23rd Battalion.

He saw action on the Gallipoli Peninsula before being transferred to France where he was wounded twice in the legs.

He was killed in action 3/5/1917.

He is listed on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

The sixth brother Farrer Richmond  ( 2/3/1894 Guernsey - 2/5/1970 Knaresborough ). He enlisted in 1914 at Echuca, the nearest town to the family farm in Koyuga.

Served with the 15th Battalion AIF in Gallipoli, France and Belgium, moving up the ranks quickly to make sergeant in 1917.  He was wounded three times and awarded the Military Medal in May 1918.

Returned to Australia in October 1918.

Leased a farm after the war. Gave it up when he returned to England with his mother after his father's death in 1927.

Herbert John Thomas Petty

Private 375973

5th Battalion

Durham Light Infantry

(1894 Buckinghamshire -1979)

Herbert was working as a farm servant at Whixley when he enlisted with the Durham Light Infantry in January 1916 at York.

He went to France in August 1917. On receiving a GSW to the right thigh in October 1918 he was invalided home. He was in hospital until March 1919. He was then transferred to the reserved list.

After his discharge from hospital he got as job as a farmworker at Sheriff Hutton Bridge, near Strensall. He married Emily Pettinger in 1921 and they had one child, Alfred Herbert, who was killed in WWII.

Herbert, Emily and Alfred are living in Stillington in 1939.

Awards: British and Victory Medals

Reuben Phillips

Pioneer WR 21641

308th Road Constructon Company
Royal Engineers

Formerly Private 21641
West Riding Regiment


Living West Lane, Stillington when called up in December 1916 aged 48. Reuben's occupation was a steam engine driver. Married with eight children, though only two youngest were living at home when he joined the army.

Transferred to the Road Construction Corps of R. E. because of his occupation, and his age. Went to France in February 1917.
Stood down September 1918 and demobbed March 1919.

Reuben didn't come through the war unscathed. After his debolisation he put in a claim for a war pension. He claimed for rheumatism, pain from a hernia operation (performed by the Army!) and memory loss caused by a shell burst.

He got a very small pension for the operation pain and the memory loss but the rheumatism was dismissed.

Awards: British and Victory Medals

Sidney Pickering

Driver T4/036832

Royal Army Service Corps

(23/7/1896 - 1970)

From Spella Farm, Marton.

  He enlisted on 31/12/1914 at Malton.  Saw service in France from August 1915 to November 1917, at which point he went to Italy until March 1918.

Awards: 1914/15 Star, British and Victory Medals.

(Arthur) Major Richardson

Gunner 143075

351st Siege Battery

Royal Garrison Artillery

 (1897 Stillington - 1923 Stillington)

Eldest son of Harry, a farmer, and Minnie. 

Enlisted 7/6/1916.

 Served in France from August 1917.

Crushed his right hand in October 1917. His hand was amputated at the wrist. When it became clear the wound was infected  7 inches of his forearm was amputated.

Spent time in Queen Mary's Convalescent Hospital at Roehampton.  He was discharged as medically unfit in September 1918, receiving a pension for his injury and a Silver War Badge.

A medical examination in 1921 at York found he was suffering from tuberculosis. The disease progressed and he died on 8/7/1923. Buried 10/7/1923 at Stillington aged 25 years.

Awards: British and Victory Medals, Silver War Badge.

(James) Stanley Rymer

Private 34317

19th Battalion

133rd Company

Machine Gun Corps

formerly Private 3415

3/5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment

(Born Stillington 1894)

Enlisted into the Yorkshire Regiment in 1915 at Pickering where he was working on his father's farm at Crofton Mill. Was demobbed and then conscripted back into the army in 1916. Stan enlisted with the Machine Gun Corps.

Was wounded in the head and hand in October 1916 and went to hospital in Abbeville.

Demobbed in 1919.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Thomas James Sapsford

Gunner 71985

7th Brigade

Royal Horse Artillery

( 1891 Takely, Essex - 1965 Sheffield)

Thomas worked for the Simpson Family at Skeugh Farm, Marton. He joined up in August 1913 at Grimsby. As he was working at the time as a waggoner he became a driver. He was promoted to Gunner during active service.

He entered the conflict on 15/8/1914 and served throughout the war, being discharged in 1921.

After the war Thomas lived in Handsworth near Sheffield. He married Frances Cuthbert in 1919 and they had two children, Alice and William.

Awards: 1914 Star, British and Victory Medals.

Robert Scaife

Corporal 866

 12th Infantry

Australian Imperial Force

 (1882 Stillington - 1942 Geraldton, WA)

Bob emigrated to Australia in May 1911 on the Orsova, landing at Fremantle in Western Australia.

^He enlisted at Blackboy Hill, just south of Perth in Western Australia, on 10/9/1914, and embarked in November 1914 from Fremantle to sail to Egypt for training before joining the conflict.

On 25th April 1915 Bob was one of the men who providing covering fire for Anzac forces to land on the Gallipoli Peninsula. In May he was taken ill but was back fighting. In August he was promoted to Corporal and took part in the Battle of Lone Pine. Shortly after that his health took a turn for the worse and it was proposed that he was transferred to a Australian Army Service Corps, but this didn't happen and by October Bob was on a ship bound for Malta where he was diagnosed with a problem with his thyroid.

 He returned to Australia from hospital in Cairo, where to add to his health problems he had contracted dysentery, on 11/6/1916, having been invalided out of the army. He was repatriated into his adopted country and given a war pension of 45 shillings a fortnight.

Bob had already seen military action, in The British Army. He served in The Yorkshire Militia before his enlistment with the 1st Royal Dragoons in 1901.

He spent five years in India, from 1904 - 1909. After his return to Britain he was placed on the reserved list for service in The 1st Cavalry Regiment.


Fred Scaife

Sapper 213049

146th Army Troop

Royal Engineers

 (1885 Stillington - 1967)

 Fred was a joiner in civvy life.  He was married, and his son Norman was only a few months old,  when he was called up in 1916.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Ernest Richard Scurr

Private 37459

Dorsetshire Regiment

(formerly Yorkshire Regiment)


Ernest enlisted with the Yorkshire Regiment right at the end of the war in September 1918. As the order had been given that no more troops were to be sent on overseas service he was put into a reserve battalion. He did his training and in November 1918 he was transferred to the Dorsets who were sent to Ireland (Londonderry). He served three months there then was demobbed when his battalion was broken up.

They were a momentous three months as the Dorsets had been sent to Londonderry to be on hand during the General Election, which took place on 14th December. Trouble was expected after the Easter Risings of 1916. Sinn Fein was the party on the rise overtaking the moderate Irish Parliamentary Party, and with their rise a strong opposition, in the form of the Ulster Unionist Party, was formed. The Irish electorate had risen from around 700,000 to over 2 million due to the emancipation of women (votes for those over 30 years old) and the removal of property qualification with those men over 21 years and ex-servicemen over 19 years being able to cast their vote for the first time.

Sinn Fein won and with that victory began the 'troubles' in Ireland as Eamon de Valera, their leader, declared Irish independence. Thankfully Ernest was demobbed  and at home before the real fighting began.

Ernest married Ethel Borwell (of the Stillington Borwells) on 24/9/1924 at Acomb and they had one child, George, in 1925. They lived on the High Street at 6, Carr View. Ethel was the school caretaker for many years. Ernest is still remembered for his wonderful garden.

Walter Smith

Corporal 26273

2nd Battalion, 'A' Coy

Yorkshire Regiment

(Stillington 1888 - 1958)

Enlisted 11/12/1915 at Huby. Was sent to France in June 1916.

Suffered a gunshot wound to the right hand.

Discharged May 1919.

 Walter farmed Church Farm in Stillington Village.

He married Elsie Elizabeth (Lizzie) Cundall from Huby and they had three daughters.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

William Smith

Pioneer 338990

Royal Engineers

 (1875 Stillington - 1938 Wetherby)

Married Margaret Bell from Farlington at St Mary's Church, Marton on 29/12/1897.

Initially enlisted 1/12/1915 at Wetherby where he was living and working as a boot and shoe maker. Placed on the reserved list until July 1918 when he was called to serve.

Sent to France in September 1918 and was involved in the 'last push'. Served 52 days in total and was demobbed on 30/3/1919.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Harry Jennings Sowray

Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant 240008

6th (Reserve) Battalion

Lancashire Fusiliers

Formerly 2nd (Volunteer) Battalion Lancs Fusiliers

Formerly 1st Battalion, West Yorks Regiment

 (1862 Stillington - 1933)

Lived Rochdale. Occupation Joiner.

Harry had served with the Lancashire Fusiliers previously and rejoined for service during the war, but was discharged as medically unfit in December 1917 aged 54 having served in Egypt from September 1914 to February 1917 and then in France until the September of that year.  His character was described as  'exemplary' on his discharge papers and received a long service medal.

Awards: 1915 Star, British and Victory Medals.

Harry Jennings Sowray Junior

Lance Corporal 27668

Grenadier Guards

Formerly Private 7487

6th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers

(1890 Rochdale - 1975)

The eldest son of Harry Jennings Sowray. Joined Lancashire Fusiliers in 1908 whilst living in Rochdale. Was a butcher on his enlistment.

Was sent to Gallipoli in May 1915. Suffered several bouts of enteritis and spent time in hospital in Alexandria. Was discharged in 1916 having served 8 years.

Re -enlisted with the Grenadier Guards.

He married Ada Gilleard from Crayke in 1918. Harry ran a butcher's shop on Fulford Road, York for many years.

Both Harry and Ada are buried in Stillington New Cemetery.

Awards: 1915 Star, British and Victory Medals

Thomas (Tom) Spruce

Sapper T/1427

147th Field Company

Royal Engineers

(Born 1883 Sutton on the Forest - 1952)

His family moved to Stillington and he served his apprenticeship as a bricklayer with Woods the Builders.  

Tom was on the reserved list and was called up to join The Royal Engineers in 1915.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

James Clifford Sykes

Corporal 98728

Royal Engineers

(1893 Hunslet, Leeds - 1945)

Came to Stillington in 1920s to run a carrier service to York.

Volunteered 1915. Went to Egypt the same year. After six months there he was sent to France. Did 'sterling work' during the battles of Loos, Somme and Vimy Ridge. Was gassed twice during the Third battle of Ypres.

However despite this he carried on until the end of the war and was demobbed in January 1919.

Awards: 15 Star, British and Victory Medals.

James William Toase

Lance Corporal 60799

9th Battalion

Northumberland Fusiliers

Formerly 25th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers

Formerly Private 12111 West Yorkshire Regiment

10th, 2nd and 16th Battalions

(1885 -1968)

Nothing much is recorded of James' army career above and beyond his many transfers. He was moved from the 25th Battalion to the 9th when the former was reduced in strength in May 1918 with the latter being reorganised to drive the last enemy forces from Picardy. The 9th were attached to the 61st Division seeing action in the Battle of the Selle (17th-25th October 1918) and the Battle of Valenciennes (1st-2nd November 1918).

The 10th Battalion of the West Yorks was formed and based in York. It is very probable that James enlisted with that Battalion.

James was demobbed in 1919.

Before the war he was a farmworker. In 1911, living with his family in Stillington.

He married Florence Ransome in 1921 at Brandsby and they had two daughters Margaret and Patricia. They lived on Mill Lane in Stillington.

Awards: Victory and British Medals

Joseph Tweedy

Driver 134754

Royal Field Artillery

(1894 - 1918)

Enlisted at Stillington 25/11/1915. Lived in Stillington and worked as a bricklayer for Woods the Builders. Married Annie Wood in December 1914. They had a daughter, Joyce, born in 1915 at Stillington.

Another whose Attestation papers are signed by Matthew Liddell in his role as Justice of the Peace.

Discharged in June 1916 as unfit for service.

Alfred Harrison Usher

Petty Officer F20712

Royal Navy

 (1886 Sunderland - 1943)

An electrician. Lodged with the Wood family during renovations of Stillington Church. Married Mary Wood in 1911.

Enlisted 15/9/1916.

Served on H.M.S 'Daedalus', which was used as a training station for the Fleet Air Arm, as a chief electrician.

Edward Stanley Walker

Lance Bombadier 128434

201st (Devon) Seige Battery

Royal Garrison Artillery

Formerly Private 1714 Devonshire Regiment

 (11/10/1892 Stillington -  1971 Devon)

Edward's parents, Edward and Eliza, were Schoolmaster and Schoolmistress of the National School.

Was a schoolteacher himself when he joined up on 20/11/1915 at Manchester, where he was living.

Had transferred to RGA by early 1916.

Edward was a 'layer' - that is he was a specialist in sighting the guns.

Attached to the 3rd Canadian Tunelling Company in May 1918.

Demobbed February 1919.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Stanley Wakelin

Gunner 89486

Royal Garrison Artillery

(3/10/1878 Oxford - 1945 Scarborough)

Joined the army at York in 1913 whilst living in Stillington and working as a teacher at the School. Put on the reserve list, he was called up in December 1915.

He served with the 130th Siege Battery in Salonika on the Macedonian Front. He was later transferred to the 138th Siege Battery. He was posted back to England in 1918 due to illness. He was diagnosed as suffering from Graves Disease (hyperthyroidism) caused by his army service and was discharged in 1919 after spending some time in hospital.

Stanley was awarded a pension in light of his illness. He eventually returned to teaching.

He married Lucy Little in 1902 at Scarborough. They had one child, Raymond, who was seven when his father was called up.

Awards: Silver War Badge, British and Victory Medals.

Thomas Frederick Welburn

Lance Corporal T4/143206

580th Company

Royal Army Service Corps

 (18/7/1886 Low Dalby near Thornton le Dale - 1971)

Thomas' father farmed Foulrice at Marton. Thomas was employed as a draper when he enlisted at Bradford on 24/11/1915.

The 580th Company served at home. Its duties mainly involved transporting equipment and men from Aldershot.

Thomas served until September 1919, at which time he applied for a War Pension due to illness (heart trouble) and injuries (to the face) that he had received during service. However his application was rejected.

Ernest Wilson

Driver T/329831

Royal Army Service Corps

Formerly Private 21376

9th Battalion

West Riding Regiment

 (1892 Stillington - 1967)

Enlisted York 31/5/1915 whilst living at Skewsby and working as a farm hand.

Whilst in Egypt during 1916 until he was taken ill with appendicitis. There was an abcess on his appendix which nearly killed him. He was ill for two months in the General Hospital at Port Said. Fortunately Ernest recovered enough to be shipped home to recuperate in June 1916.

Embarked for France in April 1917. Transferred to the RASC shortly afterwards.

Wounded in October 1918 and admitted to the Australian General Hospital in Rouen. Again Ernest was seriously ill - this time with gunshot wounds to the right side of his upper body - his hand, face and head. He had received the wounds whilst acting as a stretcher bearer.

Again, thankfully, he recovered.

 Discharged March 1919, whilst in hospital.

Applied for an army pension. This was approved - Ernest was awarded eleven shillings per week due to the paralysis of his right hand which prevented him from returning to work as a farm hand.

Ernest married Mabel Nuttall in January 1918, though sadly she died from Spanish flu in July 1918. After his discharge from hospital in England her family, who lived in Rochdale, took Ernest in until he got back on his feet.

Eventually Ernest married again - to Nellie Jefferson in 1926.

Awards: 1914/15 Star.

(Was denied a Victory Medal as he was in Hospital at the time of the Armistice)

Colin Wood

Private 126191

71st Battalion

Canadian Expeditionary Force

Born Stillington 13/3/1895

Colin emigrated to Canada in 1914 aged 18.

Was living at Mount Elgin, Ontario and working as a farm hand when he enlisted on 28/5/1915.

Served overseas. Returned to Canada on the 'Missanabie' in February 1916 at which point we was transferred to a reserve battalion.

He re-enlisted in May 1917. At this point he was a farmer (having received a parcel of land due to his war service). His eyesight had also deteriorated however he was declared fit to serve.

Married Gladys Flaherty in 1922.

Brother of William Milner Wood and Stephen Reginald Wood (see next entry).


Stephen Reginald Wood

Gunner 755231

129th Brigade

Royal Field Artillery

Formerly Gunner 1482

2nd Northumbrian Brigade R F A

(Born Stillington 1896)

A younger brother of William Milner Wood who was killed in Action at Gallipoli.

Enlisted 1914 at Newcastle upon Tyne aged 18. Served in France from April 1915.

Awards: 1915 Star, British and Victory Medals.

William Austin Snowdon Wyrill

Private 21080

10th Battalion

West Yorkshire Regiment

(1/3/1895 Normanby - 1981)

Was in France from 2/9/1915

Captured at Fricourt on the 1st July 1916, (The first day of the Battle of the Somme), when the 10th Battalion took dreadful casualties.

He was wounded in the arm and treated in a German military hospital at Le Cateau in Northern France, where there was also an important railhead.  After some time in hospital he was sent, by rail, 500 km north-west to an internment camp at Minden in Westphalia.

At the end of the war, and after over two years of imprisonment in appalling conditions, he was repatriated through Rotterdam in neutral Netherlands, arriving in Hull 19/12/1918 on SS 'Stockport'. Demobbed January 1919.

William married Nellie Rhodes in 1922 and they had three children - William, Leslie and Muriel. Farmed Novay Farm at Marton.

Medals: Victory, British and 1915 Star

Harry Ernest Yorke

Private 56360

York and Lancaster Regiment

Formerly Private 46836

8th Battalion

Yorkshire Regiment

 (1894 Marton cum Moxby - 1960)

Demobbed December 1919

After the war he was a farmer, working Stillington Grange and then Deepley Farm at Marton. He married  Ethel May Cundall from Huby, a younger sister of Walter Smith's wife,  and he named his first son, (born 1918 and the eldest of nine children), after his elder brother, William Frank, who was killed in action at Neuve-Eglise.

Awards: British and Victory Medals.

Arthur Young

Private 1978

Yorkshire Hussars

 (Born 1885 Stillington)

Arthur joined the Yorkshire Hussars, a militia regiment, in April 1911 at Easingwold.  His father, Thomas, ran a farm in Stillington.

He was deployed on 5/8/1914 with the 1/1st Squadron commanded by Lt-Col Viscount Helmsley and made up from volunteers willing to serve overseas. Impatient to be sent abroad the Lieutenant Colonel took his men to Harlow in Essex to await orders, which never came.

The Squadron was split up between three different units in April 1915, to provide cavalry support, and then posted to France. Arthur served one year there before being discharged as his five year service had expired.

Arthur married Helen Longbottom in 1923. They had two children Doreen and Geoffrey.

*Men mentioned in dispatches were entitled to wear a Laurel Garland Badge sewn onto their uniform.

^ Information courtesy of The AIF Project.

Information compiled from: British Army service and pension records; WW1 medal index cards; Silver War Badge List; Recommendations for honours lists (DCM and MM); Regimental lists; British Army medical reports; Newspaper articles; Civil Registration for England and Wales;  Census for England and Wales 1901 and 1911; 1939 Register; Australian state and civil records.


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